EDITED: THIS REVIEW ENCOMPASSES THE WHOLE 102 EPISODES OF FAIRY TAIL (2014)
*NOTE: Due to the nature of this series some comparisons between the new series and the original run will arise but generally this review is spoiler free.
Fairy Tail (2014) was a highly anticipated sequel to the original run of Fairy Tail which lasted from 2009 to 2013. Now the original anime wasn't anything special or groundbreaking by any means however it was an anime that managed to avoid the majority of the pitfalls associated with long running anime like Naruto, Bleach etc. Sure it had the 'plot convenient' power ups and the 'power of friendship' cliches but it still managed ti garner a pretty huge and devout fan following. The main reasons were the fact that it had extremely consistent animation, brilliant soundtracks and very likable characters along with interesting arcs that didn't drag on and fights that were short and sweet. I confess that i was among that devout fan following and loved FT like it was the greatest anime ever (this was about 3 years ago mind you) so how is it that a fan like me is giving this sequel such a low score? Lets begin...
Story: . The pacing of the story is horribly inconsistent and extremely slow paced. There are some episode that will try to fit in a lot of content in the space of just one episode and others where there will be nothing of consequence done over the course of many episodes, a problem that arises from dragging out episodes is the extremely corny dialogue that is quite often cringe worthy. Now a typical aspect of shounens is 'hyping up' every battle and every showdown for eg Shokugeki no Souma does this excellently. Fairy tail tries but fails miserably at this not because of its inability to hype up sequences but because of the inability to follow up on it which leads to extremely boring battles and plot conclusions. Also many of the most interesting characters including Erza, Zeref, Jellal etc suffer deeply from a lack of screen time. Plot holes run rampant in this anime and character motivations are seldom explored. An example i would like to mention here form the series is the FT zero arc which animated 13 chapters in the space of almost 10 episodes, this is by no means helpful to the pacing of the series and means that episodes drag on aimlessly because of the little content that they get to adapt.
Animation: As i mentioned before Fairy tail mainly drew me in because of its consistent animation however that is not the case any more. FT tries to experiment with a new animation style that resembles the manga but in colour it doesn't look quite as good. The biggest letdown in terms of animation is, unlike the first series, inconsistency. BG are well drawn but during battles many characters look nothing more than doodles (naruto anyone?). Another problem is the extremely bland colour template, for some reason the colours are towards the dark side and this does not fit the previous series' cheery looking vibrant colours.
Sound: This is hands down the best aspect of the anime. All of the OPs and EDs are very well done and continue the legacy of the original's brilliant soundtracks. Some tracks that have stuck with me are 'Masayume Chasing', 'Believe in myself' and 'Ashita wa Orase' all of which are eargasmic. The osts on the other hand are overused but still are acceptable.
Character: Due to the inconsistent and slow nature of the story the characters don't really have a chance to shine like they did in the original. Many interesting character's like laxus, erza, gajeel, jellal etc are thrown into the background and only appear rarely. Their development has remained stagnant over the course of these 102 episodes. Many important moments from the manga that are important in fleshing out the characters were animated without any of the emotional drama and this means that character emotions look forced and overdramatic. Natsu is much the same and Lucy is still quite useless as a MC. Zeref is sorely missed and only appears in about 4 episodes despite the fact that he is the main antagonist. The rest of the antagonists are not nearly as interesting and their motivations are petty to say the least.
Enjoyment: Probably the only reason that i have stuck with this anime for so long is the feeling of nostalgia i got every week i sat down and watched another episode, but nostalgia can only take you so long and at some point watching it became nothing more than a chore, devoid of enjoyment and the love that i once had for this anime.
I am honestly shocked at how such an amazing anime has been ruined, it is now nothing more than a shadow if its past glory and is a prime example of how greedy studios can turn an interesting show into a shitty cash grab.
Thank you for taking the time out to read this long review and any feedback is greatly appreciated since this is my first review.